Fantasy Football Week 1: Last Second Decisions September 8, 2012  |  Kevin Roberts

The first week of fantasy football is here, and while we’re all excited with the potential this Sunday and Monday bring, some of us might be a little nervous about our current lineups.

And it’s completely understandable, as guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson are playing with our heart strings, and numerous fantasy options are dancing a fine line between blowing up in week one or sitting on the bench.

For injuries, roles and a light sleeper watch, read on for your week one last second decisions:

Injury Watch

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

What the crap? Why does Foster keep doing this to us? First it was his problematic hammy in 2011, and now his knee? I can’t take this. Regardless, I doubt Foster misses week one, so he’s still a guy you have to play. If you’re really bent out of shape over his status, just toss Ben Tate into your lineup. He’s bound to see a lot of touches against the Dolphins, with or without Foster starting.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers

You can pull the plug on Mathews’ week one life support machine. He’s not playing this week. With that said, he’s getting healthier by the day, so you can start pondering what your lineup will look like with him in it come week two.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

I believe All Day is going to suit up for this one, but I’m not assigning him much value. He’s still not 100% and Jacksonville is no cakewalk when it comes to stopping the run. Toby Gerhart is the guy you’ll want in this matchup. Peterson shouldn’t have anything more than 3rd down value.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Lynch’s back has been bothering him all week, so there’s a chance he’s quite limited on Sunday, even if he does play. That could give rookie back Robert Turbin some sweet value, while Lynch sitting could offer up top-15 potential for Turbin against the Cardinals’ weak run D.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Mendy is racing back from a torn acl, but I think reports suggesting a possible Sunday return are fairly skewed. He’s on a torrid pace, but he’d be foolish to suit up for this one. Stay away from him this week and lean on Jonathan Dwyer instead of Isaac Redman.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

J-Stew is still riding a mangled ankle, but his status isn’t quite as bleak as it appeared earlier in the week. He missed a ton of practice, though, so he’s super sketchy for week one. He might still play, but I’d rather just play it safe and roll with DeAngelo Williams against the Buccaneers’ incredibly soft run defense.

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns

T-Rich has practiced every day this week and is officially listed as questionable for week one versus the Eagles. I think he plays, but this is still a rookie on the Browns we’re talking about. His role is a bit in question, so treat him more as a flex for his pro debut.

Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Beanie is a late addition to the week one injury report, making him an even tougher play against a brutal Seahawks rush defense. I’d rather take a chance on Ryan Williams at this point.

Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots

Vereen has been banged up for a while and is a long-shot to play this week, possibly cementing Stevan Ridley in as a top-15 option this week.

Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders

Moore flashed great explosive ability in 2011, so many of us can’t wait to see what he can do in year two. Unfortunately, there’s a chance we’ll have to keep on waiting until week two, as he’ll be a game time call against the Chargers on Monday Night Football. I’d rather take a risk on someone else like Kendall Wright or Austin Collie this week.

Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Collie gave us a scare with his fourth concussion in the past two years, but it appears he’ll be ready to face the Bears this week. Be sure that he’s active, but if he is, he could be a nice sleeper against a fairly soft Chicago pass defense.

Role Circus

Washington Redskins Running Backs

Just stay away from this mess altogether until the needle emerges out of the hay all by itself. I’m not excited about shooting in the dark every week with this team, as Mike Shanahan continues to torment our fantasy souls. Evan Roster is the listed starter, but that doesn’t mean jack. If you must play a ‘Skin back in week 1, go with the more explosive Roy Helu.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

MJD is back, but not in his full bone-crushing capacity. Instead, he’ll get the red-headed step child treatment for at least one week and be stuck to strict third down duties. That means Rashad Jennings is the preferred play of the two to start the season, although both may find little success against a solid Vikings run defense on the road.

Matchup Alert

  • Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden says he’ll be shadowing DeSean Jackson on Sunday. It could just be a line, but if he is, you may want to think twice about rolling with D-Jax. If that’s the case, Jeremy Maclin could be in for a big day.
  • If you hadn’t taken notice, Willis McGahee, Cedric Benson, Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush and Fred Jackson all have extremely questionable matchups with tough run defenses. I’d still roll with Jamaal Charles and maybe even Hillis, but I might refrain from the others if I can.
  • Peyton Manning’s return is a cause for great joy and parades with four men under a dragon costume. Heck, you could even toss in a floating Spider-man and a float of college cheerleaders pulled by a brand new Chevy. Joyous for a moment, but that moment may not last. Manning and his Broncos face last year’s #1 ranked pass defense in the Steelers. Sunday Night Football might be a disaster for Manning. On the bright side, Manning has one less concern this week, as James Harrison won’t be able to make it back for week one.
  • Don’t forget that Titan’s stud receiver Kenny Britt is suspended for week one. Make sure he’s out of your lineups, and feel free to use either Nate Washington or Kendall Wright as a suitable replacement.

6 Responses

  1. NSTP says:

    Who will have a better defense this year, jets Patriots or falcons. I drafted falcons, pats and jets are available. Also, I have arian, tate, k.smith,d.martin. I’m starting arian and martin, who should be my flex ?

    • Kevin says:

      I think the Jets will have an elite defense. Pats have potential and Falcons are always solid, but NYJ look ready to be a top-five unit again.

      For your Flex, you could go either way. Foster is going to be a game time call, but he says he’ll play so it’s hard to roll with both him and Tate. Smith faces a cakewalk Rams run D at home. I’d roll with Smith there. Obviously if Foster doesn’t start, you replace him with Tate, though.

  2. Randy says:

    Need to start 2. 1RB and 1Flex
    M Lynch, B Wells, J Dwyer, B Edwards
    Any thoughts?

    • Kevin says:

      All these guys have a sketchy situaton, but as long as they’re healthy you need to roll with Lynch and Wells. They’re both game time risks and Wells has a tough matchup, but they have the best roles and potential out of these 4 options.

      It is looking like Lynch will go, but check on Wells’ status. If he can’t go, I’m taking Dwyer over Edwards.

  3. Nate says:

    Would you trade Royster for Stewart?

    • Kevin says:

      Absolutely. We have no idea what Royster’s role/value is, while Stewart has quality value as long as his ankle heals up soon. If DeAngelo Williams were to ever go down, J-Stew would suddenly be a RB1.

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